Just when you learn how to defend yourself from a particular Internet scam, a new one shows up and catches you off guard. Online fraud happens all the time as more people increasingly depend on computers and the Internet. Your best and foremost protection is awareness of these crimes, eight of which commonly appear in crime reports.
Identity Theft. Using malware or computer intrusion techniques, cybercriminals steal personally identifiable information to assume someone else’s identity.
Credit Card Fraud. Online users are duped into submitting their credit card information on deceitful websites, allowing criminals to make purchases using the stolen data.
Auction Fraud. Online shopping scams include buyers not getting what they paid for or receiving an item that’s different from the one advertised.
Investment Fraud. Scammers pretend to have great connections and knowledge in finance and bait people to invest on a company, bank or venture.
Work-at-Home Scam. This scam promises financial independence and huge money for minimal effort of work at home. Victims must pay upfront for a registration fee to get products that actually don’t sell.
Sweepstakes Scam. The victim receives an email saying he has won the lottery or sweepstakes. He’s asked to send a fee to claim the bogus prize.
Online Dating Scam. Criminals scour social networking sites to meet and form relationships with people and later convince them to send money.
West African Scam. Victims are asked to help someone transfer a huge amount of money between countries. The scammer promises to give these people a portion of the money, as long as they send an advanced fee to supposedly help process the transfer.
Besides educating yourself about the latest schemes crooks use to steal money from the gullible, you can also stay safe by being skeptical of unusual situations. A complete stranger or random website offering you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be greedy.